A message from Madison Cario, Executive Director, Regional Arts & Culture Council
2020 was a year like no other in RACC’s 49-year history. Through the lens of a devastating pandemic, we learned anew that arts, culture, history, heritage, and humanities are, and will continue to be, essential in our state, our nation, and around the world. Humanity has had to adapt to survive – changing the faces of communities throughout the world. Too many people have paid far too high a cost. We know the value that creative expression brings to us all and that public investment helps to ensure deeper access for all of our residents. Through this, we continue to stand strong as a community of creative providers.
2021 is a crucial legislative year for Oregon’s vital cultural sector. We are urging our state policymakers to prioritize arts, culture, heritage, and the humanities in order to encourage creativity, contribute to Oregon’s economic recovery, and rebuild community. Investing in Oregon’s creative and cultural life supports Oregonians’ values, promotes whole person health, strengthens communities, and attracts and retains workers in an innovation economy.
RACC’s mission is to enrich our communities through arts and culture and our vision is a thriving region, powered by creativity, with arts and culture in every neighborhood. To do this, RACC promotes equity, diversity, inclusion, and access and uses a racial equity lens to advocate for the equitable distribution of resources and the creation of public policies that will provide support for the arts ecosystem now and into the future.
Find out more and register for virtual Advocacy Day on April 23, hosted by many arts and culture organizations from around the state, and the Cultural Advocacy Coalition. Keep reading to learn about our shared legislative priorities and alignment with our coalition partners.
ADVANCE EQUITABLE ACCESS TO A WELL-ROUNDED ARTS EDUCATION FOR OREGON STUDENTS
RACC supports and will monitor the specific recommendations of the Joint Committee on Student Success for funding arts and music specialists in elementary schools as they are closely linked with work across the six Portland school districts receiving Arts Education Access Fund dollars.
More on Portland’s Arts Education Access Fund explained here.
EXPAND OREGON’S INVESTMENT IN ITS CULTURAL AGENCIES AND PARTNERS
SB 5023 – Business Oregon Budget Bill; SB 5025 – Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Budget Bill
Increased state funding of cultural agencies and partners leverages the full potential of Oregon’s creative and cultural resources to attract and retain business, increase tourism, improve education and enrich the lives of Oregonians through greater opportunity to access meaningful experiences in the arts, heritage, and the humanities, statewide. Now more than ever it is essential that the cultural sector be supported as Oregonians recover from the economic strains imposed by the pandemic. The statewide partners include:
- Oregon Arts Commission
- Oregon Cultural Trust
- State Historic Preservation Office and Heritage Commission
- Oregon Humanities
- Oregon Historical Society
PROTECT TAX POLICIES ALLOWING THE CULTURAL SECTOR TO SERVE ITS PUBLIC MISSION, INCLUDING HISTORIC PRESERVATION OF OREGON’S GEMS
SB 108 – Historic Property Tax Credit Extension for 10 Years
Critical this year is renewal of the Historic Property Special Assessments which assist owners of commercial properties. We support an extension of at least ten years, through 2031, to provide time for local governments, preservation advocates, and others to update Oregon’s approach to current preservation needs.
EXTEND OREGON FILM AND VIDEO OFFICE TAX CREDIT
SB 43 – Tax Credit Extension for Six Years
We support extending the sunset for labor rebates for qualifying film production and the tax credit for certified film production development contributions.
CONTINUE TO INVEST IN CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE
HB 5534 – Lottery Bonds
By creating the Cultural Resources Economic Fund in 2013, the State established its role in expanding and strengthening cultural infrastructure by leveraging lottery bonds to invest in arts, heritage, and humanities infrastructure projects.
WORK WITH KEY LEGISLATORS AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES TO REIMAGINE THE STATE SONG
RACC supports legislative deliberations on revising the lyrics to the state song or starting fresh. We applaud suggestions for a broad participatory process grounded in equity and inclusion. To date, the Cultural Advocacy Coalition, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Humanities, and the Oregon Community Foundation have led these conversations. More information on the State song can be found here.
PROTECT ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS FOR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS
HB 2255 – Limits Itemized Personal Income Tax Deductions for Charitable Contribution
While tax policy is an important tool to incentivize activity and fund government services, the nonprofit sector is a partner in the service of public policy goals and should be promoted and strengthened through tax policy where possible. RACC does not support tax policy that discourages charitable giving by individuals.
You can find more details on the Cultural Advocacy Coalition’s legislative session priorities.